With seven hours sleep after the Glow in the Park I was back out on the road at 6am and driving to the Cotswolds for Event 41, an Aquabike. What’s an Aquabike? It’s a swim and a bike, no pesky running 🙂 This Aquabike was also nice and short, 750m swim and a 20km bike. I did wonder if it was worth the 2 hours of driving each way, but it was…most definitely.
The drive there was beautiful, a perfect morning – the sun rising and a little mist to make it look pretty. It was bit nippy but looked like it would warm up. Best of all the M5 was strangely empty 🙂
I’ve never been to the Cotswolds for a swim event and never done an Aquabike. I was keen to see what the lakes were like in case I want to do a longer event there one day and I was also keen to do a short race for a change – one I could actually race.
I arrived at Lake 62 just after 8am, parked my car and walked to the venue. The grassy walk to registration was pretty muddy and I was glad that I would not be running on it later. It was a low key event and all the registration and transition were on grass, there was also no cover. Fortunately it was a beautiful morning and the sun was warming up nicely.
There was also an Olympic distance triathlon taking place the same morning so transition had to be cleared by 9am. My start time was a 10.10 so a bit of waiting around. But it was fun watching the Olympic waves do their swim and everyone I chatted to was very friendly. I chatted to a lovely guy called Tony for a while who was using this event as experience towards longer events in the future. He was also recovering from injury that stopped him running. In fact everyone I spoke to seemed to have a good reason for not wanting to run. The Aquabike was perfect, shame there are not more events like this.
At 9.30am we got in our wave race briefing. There were not many of us and although the men and women had our briefing together we would set of separately in the water. We were allowed in the water for a few minutes before setting off to acclimatise. Most people said “ooh it’s warmer than I though”. My first thought was “it’s colder than I thought” But really it was a nice temperature and after a few minutes chatting to my fellow swimmers we were off.
After my 5km swim last week if was lovely to be swimming just 750m, one lap of the lake. The lake was lovely, a few weeds, but generally very clear and lots of space to swim. The lap was over very quickly.
A quick dash out of the water, wetsuit down to waist, hat and goggles off and into transition. It was easy to find my bike as most of the bikes had gone on the Olympic distance. Helmet and glasses on, shoes on…over the mat and onto the bike ride.
The bike was flat and fast and mostly left turns. One 20km loop which we only had to do once. I was loving this race. I didn’t notice much scenery because for once I was actually concentrating on going fast lol! There were a couple of points where we had to slow down – a busy cross roads where everyone had to stop and put one foot down or risk being disqualified and in one village there was traffic calming – with traffic being giving right of way in other direction. Fortunately both of these were traffic free for me but I did speak to a few people who had to wait for quite a while. One guy stuck while a caravan and horse box slowly came the other way. Very frustrating I’m sure.
The course was well signed but not many marshals, most of them were in the village with the traffic calming. We were told that the village was not too happy about cycle events – I bet many go through there. They needed to make sure everyone stuck to the rules.
At the end we racked our bikes and then had less than 100m to run to the finish line. It was rather strange doing a 100m dash with my helmet and bike shoes on. I watched the Olympic distance guys come and rack their bikes and the go off for their muddy 10km run…yet again grateful that for me the race was over.
At the end I chatted to my fellow Aquabikers. Every person I has spoken to before hand came over to ask me how I got on, Natalie who had just had a baby, Susannah and her partner who swam without wetsuits and Tony, who had raced so hard he was sick at the end (possible one too many gels) and walked back to the car park with me. Funny moment, when I wandered in the direction of the car park and realised I had forgotten my bike – whoops!
It was a great event and so friendly. It makes me a little sad that my year is coming to an end…I’ve had such fun and met so many nice people.
Event 41 done.